Tweet First, then Follow

Before jumping into using any online social tools for business, it’s imperative that you first create a Plan for how you will use each tool. Due to how easy it is to get started using so many of the free online tools out there today, some business owners jump right in with planning properly. Sometimes that works, but more times than not, it leaves business owners with more questions than answers. When you have a plan, you have a foundation, you have goals setup that you are working to accomplish, and you have time requirements in place for how long you’ll spend using each online tool. When constructing a building for your business, you create a solid foundation before you start designing the interior and putting products on the shelves. This same principle holds true when you do start to use online social tools for business.

For this post, I’d like to focus on Twitter, but the principles can be spread to other online social tools as well. Twitter for business is one of the best uses of your time, as Twitter helps you reach and connect with your target audience, share ideas and educational content, and drive traffic to your blog and/or website. With that said, sometimes business owners get so caught up in getting on Twitter and building a large QUANTITY of followers, that they forget to first setup a foundation that can support such a large following.

Get followers on TwitterAs I’m sure many of you know, when it comes to your home, foundation problems are the last thing you want to hear from a contractor. A strong foundation provides the stability for your home, and the same is true for your Twitter profile. You might be saying, well that sounds good in theory, but how do I build a “foundation” on an online platform like Twitter? Great question. When I say, build a foundation on Twitter, I mean, find your voice, determine what you want to tweet about, figure out what your goals for Twitter are, so that your future actions are a direct result of trying to accomplish those goals, build out your profile, add an image, and then, actually start tweeting. Notice I didn’t say, “start following people”. There’s a reason for that…

When it comes to following people on Twitter, there are a few key things that QUALITY followers look for in a Twitter profile before following someone. A few of those attributes are:

  • Interesting and fully filled out Twitter Profiles – Use your profile to describe what business you’re in, what you will be tweeting about, and any other information that you think would be relevant to the type of followers you are trying to attract
  • Profile picture – Here at Catalyst Marketers we like to put a face behind the name, so we Tweet from @RyanTaft and I have a picture of myself up there, instead of a company logo. Some people differ on this subject, but I like the effect a personal image has when it comes to attracting followers.
  • A long list of quality tweets – people want to see what you’re tweeting about and who you are interacting with on Twitter.
  • Number of followers you have versus the number of people you’re following

Your foundation on Twitter is your profile and your tweets. When you first start out on Twitter, most people search for others to follow and hope that some of those folks will start to follow them back. What they don’t realize is that when someone is checking out your profile after you’ve followed them, they are looking for the attributes listed above. Now, obviously you won’t fit the criteria of the last attribute because you are a new user, so you don’t have any followers. With that said, I think that the weight put on number of followers is much less than the weight put on a professional profile and your Twitter content or tweets.

Setup a Twitter account for my businessMost of the time, people understand that you may be new to Twitter, so you don’t have a ton of followers, but if you also have a semi-filled out profile, with no profile picture (whether is a logo or personal image), AND hardly any tweets, then it’s likely that the majority will assume that you’re not an active Twitter user and move on without following you. NOW, if you’re just starting to use Twitter for business and you create a plan for what you’re hoping to achieve through Twitter, fill out your profile, upload an image, and start tweeting on a regular basis, then after 1 – 2 weeks, you’ll have 100+ tweets (hopefully), which is good for a new user. Now, as long as what your tweeting about appeals to your target followers (which is a post for another day), you’re more likely to attract those folks.

Once you’ve built out your profile and you’ve been tweeting for a few weeks, now it’s time to get out there and start searching for people to follow because you’ve successfully built your foundation. Follow industry leaders and follow your target customers. Follow anyone who makes sense for your business (keeping your goals in the back of your mind). When those folks see that you’re following them and they go to check out your profile, they are not going to see an empty lot, they are going to see a strong foundation and a commitment for building something great. You are more likely to attract those folks to follow you back because you took the time to tweet first, then follow.


  1. Sir, I am new at this so I have been getting my feet wet on Facebook. I want to be sucessful at most of what I do. So I always try hard and work at it for long time before I give up. If I see any response at all that fire me up to try another day. So here is where I am now trying to build my team and using products that have help me and make me feel good about myself. The people that I am dealing with now do not have go power and I can not give them mine. I beleive in myself and I strive hard, they say your lucky, no I am a busy person with goals and limits. I am not afraid to take a chance if I believe that sucess lays around the next corner. Can you give me some advice or tips on team building? I can sell the products but how do I build the team. How can I find the right person that has th same mine set as me?
    Thank You

  2. Elaine –

    Thanks so much for the comment. Congrats on your hard work! I’m sure it will all pay off one of these days. Just keep educating yourself. Regarding your question, it’s always tough to find like-minded folks to work with. I’m actually reading a GREAT book right now on the psychology behind human motivation factors. It’s entitled DRIVE and written by Daniel Pink. I HIGHLY recommend it for your situation. Basically, the book talk about the old way of motivating people, carrots and stick (pay for performance) goes against the very nature of human beings. It talks about the fact that once people are paid an adequate amount for their work, additional compensation doesn’t motivate them to go above and beyond, and many times, it hinder their ability. Pink says that business owners and managers need to provide people with fair pay, but then after that, they need to give employees autonomy to work on their tasks and on their own schedules, the ability to seek mastery in a skill, and provide a sense of purpose when it comes to their jobs. Again, I’d recommend reading the book instead of me trying to recant it for you. It’s definitely worth the read (and it’s a fun and easy read on top of that)! I hoped this helped. I wish you the best. Let me know what you think about the book.



  3. Ryan:

    Still learning, but Twitter has become an important part of my online presence. Unfortunately my target audience is not on Twitter, so I have not built a meaningful following. However, I am patient, will continue, but this is how I am using it: 1.) I get on at least five times a week and tweet at least 2 to 3 pieces of relevant information to supplement my postioning as a Maven (someone in the know) or something unique about my industry, food. I also discipline myself to tweet crack of dwan so when people first get on, I am already there. 2.) I follow information aggregators like yourself that A.) Teach me; and B.) Provide me with relevant content to post in some of my key LI discussion groups. Then I get off and move to the next part of my social media routinee which is LI where I have a higher probability of connecting with my target audience or to again validate my online positioning. Good post. I am definitely going to run with this post Monday during my LI routinee since so few people understand Twitter.

  4. Jim -

    Thanks so much for the comment! Glad to hear that Twitter is becoming a crucial tool in your social media efforts. It’s really effective when leveraged properly. I think over time you’ll see more of your audience get on Twitter. Regarding tweeting early, you may actually be missing people. If your followers are following a lot of people and they don’t get on Twitter until later in the day, they will actually never see your tweets as their stream gets updated with so many new tweets, which push your tweets down their stream. You may want to try tweeting at different times of the day to see if you get a better response.


    Ryan Taft


  1. Catalyst Marketers - Tweet First, then Follow... Before jumping into using any online social tools for business, it’s imperative that you first create a …
  2. - Tweet First, then Follow ... One of the keys to success on Twitter is setting up a solid foundation. Learn how …

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